After the first 95-degree day, I noticed every squash plant had blossomed overnight. Each plant had several large squash blossoms, with plenty of buzzing bees, because they were so happy to get the kind of overnight heat they like.
Vegetable gardeners who have trouble growing in conventional in-ground vegetable beds, may want to give container gardening a try.
From my experience, vegetable gardeners have more control when gardening in containers — in spite of the weather.
This year’s container vegetable garden is about two weeks behind last year’s garden. In 2014 cherry tomatoes were ripe enough to eat in mid-July; this year, it was August First.
There were just two ripe-red tomatoes, but they were worth the wait.
In June I planted more hot chile pepper plants than ever before, in anticipation of a special project. The project fell through, but the peppers are now coming on strong.
In addition to my favorite jalapeno plants, I planted Tabasco, Dragon Cayenne, Cayennetta, Anaheim, Habanero, Fish, Flaming Flare, and a new sweet pepper called Pretty ‘n Sweet.
The patio garden also includes quite a few tomato plants, about two of each: Moneymaker, Litt’l Bites, Fantastico, Superbush, Amana orange, and Ketchup ‘n Fries.
There are also several basil plants, mint for Mojitos, baby climbing butternut squash, two kinds of eggplant, two kinds of cucumbers and assorted ornamental grasses and annual flowers. An edible ornamental hanging basket of cherry tomatoes and nasturtium completes the garden.
Each year I experiment with the container garden by growing new or new-to-me plants and planting in different containers. Two elements I don’t change are where the planters sit on the patio and how I care for them through the summer. Water when they need it and regular fertilizing are the keys.
This year there have been more insect pests than I’ve ever seen, but morning rounds to rid planters of slugs and earwigs have made those easy to control.
Of course, the one variable I can’t control is the weather. Gardening here has more to do with adapting to a season when there are cooler, wetter temperatures or going with the flow when there’s no precipitation and temperatures hover in the 90s nearly every day.
The key word for gardening here is adaptable. In spite of our best efforts to control the gardening environment, gardeners have to find a way to be more flexible, just like the plants we try to grow.